Send them on a free holiday: China's new method of taking on dissidents
Two million Brits are creatures of habit who prefer to return to the same resort and do the same thing year after year, and nearly two thirds will visit the same resort within five years of their last visit. Looks familiar: Nearly two thirds of Britons will visit the same resort within five years, reveals a new survey The usual, thanks: Two fifths will dine at the same restaurant and one in 10 will do the same activities Local away from home: One third of Brits will go back to the same pub when they return to a resort And a staggering third have been to the same resort more than three times and one in 20 have been back more than 10 times over the years. And when they get there, two fifths dine at the same restaurant each time and over an eighth even sit in the same spot. From beyond the grave: Richard III boosts Leicestershire tourism by 482m in just one year (not bad for a body in a car park) Two out of five stay in the same resort, one in 10 do the same activities, almost two fifths go to the same beach, and almost a third will go to the same bar or pub. When it comes to the type of holidays, half want relaxing beach holidays, a fifth want sightseeing trips or city breaks. Top destinations for boomerang Britons are Tenerife, Paris, Florida, Benidorm and Majorca with two fifths saying good weather and reasonable prices made them return to the same place. Over an eighth cited the resort being family friendly for their return.
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"We would spend up to 1,000 yuan ($160) on a single meal."'Stability maintenance'China's ruling Communist party keeps a tight grip on power, frequently detaining those who speak out against government abuses.Over the last decade domestic security spending has soared, regularly exceeding Beijing's declared military outlays.It has built a vast "stability maintenance" apparatus and President Xi Jinping has sought to further stifle dissent since his 2012 ascension to the top of the ruling party.State-enforced travel spiked this year ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown -- where the army killed hundreds of protesters -- on 4 June.According to US-based advocacy group Human Rights in China, 15 people were taken on forced vacations beforehand."I've just returned from Beijing after being travelled," Yan Zhengxue, a painter and government critic, told AFP.Police "went with me everyday, and paid for everything" on a trip to Ningxia in the northwest, including the towering dunes of the Tengger desert."If you refuse to go travelling, there will be consequences," he said. "You have to go. Even though you are at tourist sites, you have been forced to go, so you're not in the mood to enjoy it."Government personnel relish the trips, some regular forced travellers suggest."We ate the best food, and drank the best alcohol. The security officials enjoyed it too. Not just any security official can go on this kind of trip, they need to be above a certain rank," said environmental campaigner Wu Lihong, adding he was taken to the ancient city of Xian for two weeks in March."Quite a few" officials from Beijing's secretive ministry of state security accompanied him, he said.They stayed at Xian's "best hotel", he said, and saw the Unesco-listed Terracotta Warriors, as well as the "Wild Goose Pagoda", a Tang dynasty tower that hosts night-time laser shows."They are usually stuck inside using their computers and reading the papers, but by accompanying me they have a chance to travel and eat well," he added.'Moving jail'When Chinese citizens travel to Beijing seeking redress from higher authorities for local government abuses they risk detention in makeshift "black jails", where they are sometimes beaten before being sent home.More persistent ones, though, are targeted for holidays."If you're really grassroots you'll be held in a black jail. Forced travel is for fairly well-known activists," said Maya Wang, of US-based campaign group Human Rights Watch."It's a form of illegal detention," she added. "This kind of forced travel depriving people of their freedom is unlawful."China's foreign ministry often says that detained activists are treated according to the law. The public security ministry did not respond to a request for comment.Wang Rongwen, a longtime petitioner from Sichuan in the southwest, had her third trip ahead of the Tiananmen anniversary, with six officials taking her to the majestic peaks and gurgling waterfalls of the Tiantai mountains.During the Communist party's 2012 Congress she was brought to a hotel that boasts a chandeliered restaurant, marble-floored lobby and king-sized beds.But she did not enjoy the experiences, she said."Being travelled is no better than being in a moving jail."AFP
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Holiday Inn West in Kalamazoo has a new owner; management has ties to hotel in Grand Rapids | MLive.com
The buyer, Kalamazoo Hotel Group LLC, is led by Tom Byrne of Colorado. He and partners are the primary owners of the Holiday Inn on Pearl Street in downtown Grand Rapids as well as Holiday Inns in Westminster, Colo. (a suburb of Denver), and Memphis. The group was apparently looking for another Holiday Inn property to buy about a year ago when Peter Walstra, of managing company Hill Hotel Group LLC, convinced its members to consider the Holiday Inn West in Kalamazoo. Hill Hotel Group manages the Holiday Inn in Grand Rapids and will manage the inn here.
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